The research was published in Fuel Processing Technology.
The method of coal combustion activation by metal salts is based on intensification of the combustion process and reduction of the combustion temperature.
The use of salt-based additives makes the combustion more manageable, the researchers note.
- It is too early to give up on coal
- China, for instance, relies on coal as the primary energy source for much of the 21st century despite all the ‘green’ trends
- In Russia, coal accounts for a little under 20% of the country’s energy balance
- Even in Great Britain, the country that’s been consistently implementing its decarbonisation policy, the demand for coal by electricity generators was registered at over 200 000 tons in the 3rd quarter of 2020
- It is safe to say that the search for catalytic additives for improved coal-burning efficiency will continue
- For us, the search has been quite successful: the use of the additives proposed by our team has been proven to significantly improve coal-burning efficiency, especially with high-ash coals
The introduction of copper nitrates, acetates and sulfates to the fuel samples was carried out by the incipient wetness procedure.
Ignition and combustion experiments were then performed in a combustion chamber at temperatures of the heating medium varying from 500 °C to 700 °C.
The mechanism of combustion activation relies on the intensification of the production of gas-phase combustion products at the early stage of volatiles’ release and the generation of micro-explosions to prevent formation of slag layers that would otherwise block oxygen from the fuel.
When using oxide-based additives, dynamic contact between the fuel and the additive has to be ensured, the researchers noted.
The use of salts as a catalyzing agent doesn’t require that type of contact, which makes this new method of coal modifying potentially applicable in the energy industry.
The researchers believe that the use of salt-based additives for increasing the efficiency of coal-burning could help improve fuel efficiency in energy production, minimize energy use for preheating power generating equipment and reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.